Summary: We are the hands and feet of Jesus reaching out to a hurting world.
This morning we will be continuing our series entitled: "You Did That On Purpose." We have been examining the 5 foundational purposes of the church, each of these purposes also being seen as necessary in the life of each Christian. Over the past 3 weeks we have looked at the areas of evangelism, discipleship, worship and today we will examine the area of ministry. I have affectionately borrowed the title of my message today from a telephone ad from years ago: "Reach Out And Touch Someone."
Our background scripture today comes from 1 Corinthians 12:5-7, let’s take a look.
“There are different ways to serve the same Lord, and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.
The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others.”
Before we can truly talk about what ministry is, I think we need to realize some common misconceptions about ministry. Most of us have some pre-conceived notions of what ministry is about...let’s see if we can’t eradicate a few of these.
1. Ministry is something the pastor does. Of course you know how much I love to minister...but I’m only one man...and what I can do myself is limited in comparison to what we all can do corporately.
2. You have to know a lot about the Bible to
minister. Knowledge of the Bible is not criteria to minister. Granted a knowledge of the Bible will make you more aware of ministry opportunities, and will give example to live by. But the key ingredient to effective ministry is a willing heart.
3. You have to have been a Christian for a long time to minister. Unlike most job interviews where the length of time in your field is important, in the area of ministry the qualification is a personal relationship with Jesus.
4. Someone else will do it. You’re right...God will always find someone to do His work. However, if that work was intended for you...you are living in disobedience and God will judge you accordingly.
You know the great thing about ministry in the church is this thought. We are all separate, but yet equal. As we will see the Body of Christ has many parts to it. Look at 1 Corinthians 12:12:
“The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does.”
The human body has somewhere in the neighborhood of 200+ bones if my memory sereves me correctly. Even with all of those different individual pieces, it is still one body. And each piece fully relies on the next. Think about the makeup of our church for a moment. We as a church are made up of many different parts as well. Consider this, we are diverse because we have
- different background - some grew up rich, some poor
- different professions - white collar, blue
- different personalities - introvert, extrovert
- different talents and abilities - music,
Yet even in spite of this diversity there is a common thread. That common thread is Jesus. Look at what Ephesians 4:15-16 says:
“Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of it’s parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.”
Did you catch that...Jesus is the common denominator. There’s something else....the end result for each of us is that we would grow and become strong as we become more like Christ.
Now we’re getting ready to blow some of your excuses clear out of the water. A common thing I often hear is this, "I just don’t have any talent or skills that I could share." Bite your tongue...God’s word disagrees with you. Each of us is uniquely gifted to serve. God has given each person a gift for ministry. Not only is it a gift, but it’s a gift uniquely crafted for you and you alone. Take a look at these following two passages of Scripture.
“There are different ways to serve the same Lord, and we can each do different things…But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give each of us.”
“Each of you has been blessed with one of God’s many wonderful gifts to be used in the service of others. So use your gift well.”
Are you catching that. Ministry doesn’t come in cookie cutter shapes. There are as many ways to minister as there are people. The important part is that our gifts be used. It is expected that our gifts will be used. Our gifts are to be used in the service of others. Ultimately we were given these gifts to bring glory to God and draw people to Jesus...that is the Holy Spirit’s work within us.